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US News: Health Care Status; Fall Election Outlook; Wild Horses vs Ranchers

By: ap
By: ap

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Seven million people signed up, so there is an appetite for President Barack Obama's health care law.
But that doesn't guarantee success for the country's newest social program.
The next enrollment season, which starts Nov. 15, will bring big challenges.
First objective is to keep premiums and other consumer costs in check.
Close behind -- overhauling an enrollment process that was advertised as customer-friendly but turned out to be an ordeal.
Health insurance expert Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation says the Obama administration has demonstrated that the law can work, but people are a ways off from being able to judge its success.
Republican opponents of the law keep pushing for a repeal, but as millions get insurance, how long can the party's strategy remain a politically viable option?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The latest Associated Press-GfK poll holds some ominous signs for congressional Democrats going into the November elections.
Overall, people are split between preferring Republicans or Democrats to win control of Congress.
But those most interested in politics are increasingly likely to favor GOP control, while favorable views of the Republican Party have grown.
The March poll also found that congressional approval ratings were stagnant at 16 percent -- and 39 percent said their own member of Congress deserves re-election.
Looking to 2016, few potential presidential candidates have made a major impression.
Most Republicans hold a positive view of 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor.
Democrats are most positive about Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Tensions are growing on the range in a turf battle that has been simmering for decades over one of the icons of the American West and scant forage on arid, high desert lands from Nevada to Wyoming.
Wild-horse protection advocates say the government is rounding up too many mustangs while allowing livestock to overgraze, but ranchers say not enough horses are being gathered.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management agreed Friday to remove horses from the range in southwest Utah after commissioners in Iron County threatened to take matters into their own hands.
In Nevada, the federal agency on Saturday began seizing about 500 cattle from longtime rancher Cliven Bundy that it says are trespassing on public land southwest of Mesquite.
Bureau of Land Management officials confirm they intend to confiscate the cattle as a last resort in a 20-year-old dispute. They won't discuss the details.

STATE DEPARTMENT-CONTRACTS
Report: Gov't files lacking for $6B in contracts
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government investigation has found that the State Department has incomplete files or is missing files for more than $6 billion in contracts over the last six years.
In one case involving State Department operations in Iraq, officials couldn't provide 33 of the 115 contract files requested. Those missing files were for contracts worth $2.1 billion.
A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, says that the $6 billion hasn't gone missing and calls it a "bureaucratic issue" that's being addressed.
The report by the State Department's Office of Inspector General recommends establishing a centralized system for maintaining, tracking and retaining files. Other recommendations include random checks of contract files and holding accountable those responsible for maintaining files.
The report is dated March 24 but was released to the public on Thursday.

GUN RIGHTS-KANSAS
Kansas lawmakers OK bill to void local gun rules
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas legislators have given final approval to a bill nullifying city and county gun restrictions and ensuring that it's legal across the state to openly carry firearms.
The House approved the measure Saturday on an 102-19 vote. It's seen by the National Rifle Association as a model for stripping local officials of their gun-regulating power.
The House vote came a day after the Senate passed the bill, 37-2.
The measure goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. He's a strong supporter of gun rights.
The bill would sweep local restrictions on open carry away, though cities and counties could prevent people from doing so in public buildings.
The measure also would prevent cities and counties from enacting restrictions on firearm sales or how guns are stored and transported.

CRASH-MOB ATTACK
DETROIT (AP) -- Two teenagers have been arrested in an attack on a suburban Detroit man who was beaten by a mob after accidentally hitting a boy with his pickup truck.
Police say the 17-year-old and 16-year-old males are believed to have played a direct role in the beating of Steve Utash, who is in critical condition.
Police say no charges will be filed immediately against the teens while investigators continue their work. Police believe at least six people were involved.
A mob swarmed Utash as he was checking on the 10-year-old boy he hit with his pickup Wednesday on Detroit's east side. The boy's injuries were not life-threatening.
The case has outraged the public, clergy and elected officials. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called the attack "senseless." And a prominent pastor, the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, called on the public to go block by block to find the "heartless perpetrators."

MOTHER-BATHTUB DROWNING
6-year-old boy in drowning case against mom dies
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A 6-year-old Pennsylvania boy whose mother allegedly held him underwater in a bathtub has died, four days after his younger brother drowned.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Officer on Saturday confirmed the death of Daniel Schlemmer.
His mother, 40-year-old Laurel Michelle Schlemmer, had been arrested earlier this week and is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bond on charges of drowning her 3-year-old son Luke, who died Tuesday.
County detectives say the mother told them she tried to drown both boys in the bathtub at their McCandless home in western Pennsylvania after a third son left for school. She allegedly told investigators she heard "crazy voices" telling her to push the boys underwater.

Navy warship en route to sick infant on sailboat
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A U.S. Navy warship is heading toward a crippled sailboat hundreds of miles off the Mexico coast to rescue a 1-year-old child who fell ill.
Traveling at 25 knots, the USS Vandegrift was expected to reach the Rebel Heart later Saturday.
The San Diego family aboard the 36-foot sailboat was on a trip around the world when one of them made a satellite call for help Thursday about 900 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas.
The California Air National Guard immediately deployed four pararescuemen who reached the vessel and gave medications to the girl. A relative says the child developed a rash and fever.
The family and pararescuemen now await the Navy ship to transfer them to shore.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Students at a Connecticut university are working on a daunting assignment: Who was the suspected Nazi who protected a Jewish family 75 years ago from violence and warned them to flee Austria just before World War II broke out?
The University of New Haven students just have a first name, Alois, and a few other clues. They are scouring records and conducting interviews and may visit Austria to unravel the mystery for the elderly survivors who want to honor their savior.
Ilie Wacs and his sister, Deborah Strobin, recount their family's ordeal in their book, "An Uncommon Journey."
Alois worked in their father's tailor shop in Vienna. He kept them safe during a wave of attacks on Jews, helped them with visas and warned them when to leave.


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